Squid announce their second album, O Monolith, out June 9th via Warp Records, and present its lead single/video, “Swing (In A Dream).” In 2021, upon the release of their debut album, Bright Green Field, the British quintet of Louis Borlase, Ollie Judge, Arthur Leadbetter, Laurie Nankivell, and Anton Pearson, established themselves as one of the most innovative new bands from the UK, live and on record. Produced by long-time collaborator, Dan Carey, and mixed by John McEntire (of Tortoise), their sophomore album, O Monolith, teems with melodic epiphanies and is a musical evocation of environment, domesticity and self-made folklore. Like its predecessor, it is dense and tricksy – but also warmer, with a winding, questioning nature. A sense of open conversation is cultivated: this is unmistakably music made by friends, as The Stranger hailed, “Squid’s members display a refreshing lack of hierarchy. Everyone’s crucial to the impactful sound.”
Squid began work on O Monolith only two weeks after the release of Bright Green Field while the band were on tour in 2021. “Without that tour we wouldn’t have any of these tracks,” says Judge, of the fully seated, socially-distanced shows that allowed them to test out work-in-progress music. “People were so looking forward to seeing live music that we thought we could just play anything, even if it was unfinished. In some form or another we played about 80% of O Monolith, mostly without lyrics.” The songs continued to come together in rehearsal rooms around Bristol, where the band were based at the time, eventually moving to Peter Gabriel’s luxe Real World studios in Wiltshire. This change in environment further pushed the development of the band’s sound from claustrophobic post-punk to something more free-flowing and spacious.
Today’s single “Swing (In A Dream)” was inspired by a dream Judge had about a painting called The Swing by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. “In my dream, I was in the painting but it was flooded and everything was floating away,” he explains. The song is full of bold moments that build on intricate details into an explosive climax. Beginning with an airy, cascading synth line and electronic, percussive stabs, the verse grows over Judge’s most melodic vocal to date. The accompanying video, directed by Yoonha Park, is an absurd take on Where’s Waldo? featuring friends and family of the band. “I was interested in exploring visual ideas from Where’s Waldo, Richard Scarry and Brueghel as a means to express anxieties about the climate crisis,” says Park.
- Fire Track: Jenny Lewis – “Psychos” - March 29, 2023
- The Murlocs – “Initiative” [Video] - March 23, 2023
- Fire Track: The Ironsides – “The Web” - March 22, 2023